SAEx and Alcatel Submarine Networks begin survey for a new submarine cable network linking Southern Africa and Asia to the Americas

SAEx and Alcatel Submarine Networks signed an agreement to commence desktop study, permitting and survey activities for the SAEx cable system.Alcatel Submarine Networks Press Release
October 4, 2018

This new submarine cable system will span almost 25,000 km, enhancing international connectivity and providing critical route diversity.

Paris, France – SAEx International Ltd and Alcatel Submarine Networks, a subsidiary of Nokia, today announced they have signed an agreement to commence desk top study, permitting and survey activities for a new 25,000km submarine cable network linking Asia, South Africa and the Americas. SAEx will provide both capacity and redundancy to meet the ever-increasing demand for bandwidth hungry markets with ultra-broadband access around the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, enhancing the role of digital connectivity in regional economic development.

The SAEx system will have an overall ultimate capacity design up to 108 terabits-per-second (Tbit/s) and will be composed of two key phases: SAEx1 will connect South Africa with Brazil and the US, with a branch to St Helena and stub branches for future  landings  in  West  Africa  and  other  Atlantic  islands. SAEx2 will connect South Africa to both India and Singapore. With a network ready for service in the first half of 2021, this significant end-to-end project will further increase connectivity in Africa, deliver significant capacity for wholesale and will enhance service and traffic protection through critical cable route diversity between key markets in Asia and the Americas.

Rosalind Thomas, Managing Director of SAEx, said: “SAEx will support efficiency in Asian and African connectivity by adding a direct low-latency route that’s able to address the growing capacity requirements for Data Centre Interconnect globally. Additionally, it will further evolve South Africa’s positioning as a global hub, providing a direct link between the Americas & Asia, simplifying & enhancing communications between the 5 most populous countries in the world.”

Philippe Piron, President & CEO of Alcatel Submarine Networks said: “We are delighted to work with SAEx for this significant project, creating new and diverse routes around the globe at a time of tremendous growth in African broadband, mobile and cloud based applications that are driving service providers’ demand for more connectivity options with higher reliability. This project confirms Alcatel Submarine Networks’ turn-key expertise in helping operators address the fast growth of data-intensive services and applications.”

As selected system vendor, ASN will deliver the full project, end-to-end, including network design, manufacturing, installation and commissioning. SAEx will use the latest technologies available, including premium fiber, high power repeaters and pump farming, maximizing network fiber capacity for a cost- effective solution. Combined with ASN’s Open Portal and 1620 SOFTNODE portfolio of solutions, the SAEx system will offer market leading flexibility for capacity growth and network integration of Data Centre and PoP connectivity.


SAEx International Ltd is a Mauritian registered company with its principal office located in Mauritius. The South Atlantic Express (SAEx) project is South African sponsored, and is a planned all-wet East-West submarine fibre optic system connecting Asia and the Americas, via South Africa. It will satisfy a number of crucial objectives, including providing strategic diversity for global customers seeking to avoid to the extent possible, narrow straits and difficult transits through potentially unstable areas or unreliable overland routes. South Africa is uniquely positioned at the confluence of two oceans and two hemispheres, enabling the SAEx system to maximize this positioning by offering a highly valuable and differentiated service, enabling it to capture as significant a portion of East-West data traffic as practicable.


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Alcatel Submarine Networks, part of Nokia, leads the industry in terms of transmission capacity and installed base with more than 600,000 km of optical submarine systems deployed worldwide, enough to circumnavigate the globe 15 times. From traditional telecom applications to infrastructure for content and “Over The Top” service providers, as well as solutions for offshore oil and gas applications, ASN provides all elements of turnkey global undersea transmission systems, tailored to individual customer’s needs. An extensive service portfolio completes its comprehensive offering for the submarine business, including project management, installation and commissioning, along with marine and maintenance operations performed by ASN’s fully owned fleet of cable ships.


Francesca Cazzaniga [email protected] T : +33 (01) 60 40 11 96